Rains Could Impact Stage 3 Water Mandate Vote
Granite Bay, Calif. - Water supply conditions at Folsom Lake are improving. But with the impacts of a serious drought still looming, the San Juan Water District Board of Directors will vote on a staff recommendation to proceed with a Stage 3 water warning.
Stage 3 mandates customers cut their water use by 25 percent by reducing their outdoor irrigation and more.
The full list of Stage 3 measures is available on the district's website. The district had expected to move toward a more heightened conservation stage at their February 26 board meeting, but recent precipitation, access to regional groundwater supplies and their senior water rights caused them to defer the decision.
"While recent rain and snowfall didn't get us out of the drought, it's helped us out somewhat," said San Juan Water District General Manager Shauna Lorance. "We see more storms coming our way and, combined with news that we will be able to get water out of Folsom Lake no matter what the scenario this spring; it presents a much better outlook."
San Juan Water District holds some of the oldest water rights in the state, entitling them to priority use of water in Folsom Lake. District staff is actively working with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to determine how much water Reclamation will allocate to the district in the coming weeks and months.
Through conjunctive use and other partnerships with regional water providers, the district will also have additional groundwater supplies as needed. Conjunctive use is the coordinated use of surface water and groundwater to maximize the best yield of both. Staff is confident that they will have enough water for their customers if customers help by conserving at least 25 percent of their water.
"Earlier this year, we were expecting the water intake pipe at Folsom Lake--the pipe that delivers our water--to be above the water level as early as this summer," said Lorance. "Now Reclamation is projecting that won't happen this year at all. That's something to be very happy about."
The board will also vote on a proposed drought rate structure that encourages customers to be as water efficient as possible. The board heard initial feedback from customers and stakeholders at the February 12 meeting about the rate restructuring.
If adopted, the district will send a notice about the drought rates to customers in early March, with a rate hearing likely slated for April 23.
To better accommodate customers and stakeholders, the board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 26 at the Eureka Union School District Gymnasium.
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